As we recover from the standard Monday morning hangover after consuming 14 hours of football yesterday and prepare for what should be a highly entertaining MNF game tonight, there’s a typical early-season occurrence that’s taking place throughout the land of fantasy, although this year it seems to be creeping up on us a little earlier.
Remember those running backs that we drafted so highly a month ago? They’re dying. Figuratively, of course, although I suppose it’s true that every day and every hour we’re all dying and decaying a little bit.
Consider for a moment the rubble that’s accumulated so far. Fred Jackson and Matt Forte suffered the first major injuries at the position, and will be out for likely a month apiece. It would be easy for me to write glowingly about the beast otherwise known as C.J. Spiller and his 10 yards per carry over his first two games, and the need to slide him in for Jackson owners, or likewise with Michael Bush for Forte owners. But handcuffing isn’t always automatic, because the world isn’t always fair. Other owners see who you have, and snap up those backups and time sharers in the later rounds.
Of course there’s also Ryan Mathews, who was still drafted early even though we knew he’d miss the first two games. And, well, he’s missed the first two games. Then there’s the guys who are healthy but may as well have been stricken by a leg debilitating plague due to their inconsistencies or just their generally high level of suck. Chris Johnson with his 21 rushing yards through two games is the union leader of the latter category, while the likes of Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden are also high-ranking committee members.
All of this serves as a reminder to grab as many RB lottery tickets as possible. Today, that ticket’s name is Mikel Leshoure.
The Lions running back who enjoys a steady diet of weed completed his two-game suspension yesterday when he sat out during Detroit’s loss to San Francisco. That extra down time may have been beneficial, because it gave the chronically injured RB a few more weeks to rest and recover from his torn ACL suffered last August during training camp.
With Leshoure back, a time of transition in a painfully average Lions backfield will begin, and as Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press notes, it will end with Leshoure becoming the starter, and Kevin Smith receding. This will surely be emphasized again tomorrow when we take our weekly adventure deep into the wild waiver wire jungle, but that means if Leshoure is available in your league and you’re plagued with any of the aforementioned injuries or inconsistencies, put a claim in immediately, because featured backs are an increasingly rare breed.
Of course, it will be a gradual transition from Smith to Leshoure, as all transitions are. Expect a split of some kind next week against the Titans, and then an increase in Leshoure’s workload going forward.
But Leshoure is a second-round pick from just a year ago, and teams don’t spend that highly in the draft at a notoriously brittle position without the intention to feature the player highly in their offense, and quickly. There’s clearly some tinkering and unrest at running back going on in the Lions offense after Joique Bell vultured some carries from Smith last night and had a career-high eight touches for 73 yards, which included 50 yards on a late-game screen pass.
There’s still a reasonable chance that Leshoure is out there for you and a few clicks away. He’s on the waiver wire in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues, and 80 percent of ESPN leagues.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Chris Johnson wants other people to do their jobs. I’d like it if Chris Johnson would do his job. [The Tennessean]
- Brace for more bad news sometime today, Aaron Hernandez owners. Yesterday it was reported that he’ll likely be out up to six weeks, and later today he’ll have an MRI. [Adam Schefter on Twitter]
- And more injuries, because we know that you want to feel good about yourself on a Monday morning. [Rotoworld]
- We’ve already surpassed the mark for the most points scored in NFL history through two weeks, and there’s still one game to go tonight. [NFL director of communications]
- C.J. Spiller had 8.2 yards per carry yesterday. Yeah, you keeper leaguers might want to hold onto this guy. [The Fake Football]
- Bill Simmons knows a lot about Tony Romo’s boners. [Awful Announcing]
- Darren McFaddden would like to thank CJ1.0K for sucking so much. Fantasyland is too distracted by Johnson’s tale of woe to direct their ire at McFadden too heavily. But what of Run DMC? Can he thrive within the Raiders’ zone-blocking scheme? [CSN Bay Area]